Ducharme the visionary

In his last season as a player, in 2001-2002, with the Anglet team in the Magnus League in France, Dominique Ducharme predicted to his great friend, Robert Ouellet, that he had a plan to become head coach in the NHL.

• Read also: Just Drouin’s happiness

Ouellet, Xavier’s father, had probably taken his team-mate for a fool. But Ducharme made his dream come true almost 20 years after his last season in France. He never deviated from his goal.

Today, the 48-year-old is preparing for his first camp as head coach of the Canadiens, a few months after appearing in the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s been a long way, but I’ve done it,” Ducharme said calmly in an interview with the Newspaper in the conference room in Brossard. It is a great pride. It’s one thing to reach the NHL, but to do it with the Montreal Canadiens, I find it incredible. I did my own course, I didn’t skip any stages. I didn’t get from base to top of the mountain in just a few weeks. I got closer to my goal every year. “

A little break

Bob Hartley had said last year that he would need therapy the day he put his whistle away as a trainer. Hockey always runs through the veins of a coach. Ducharme is no exception. He was expecting a huge challenge when he replaced Claude Julien on February 24, 2021, but he still did not have time to really settle what he was going through.

“I can’t say I enjoyed a normal summer,” he said. But that’s okay since it means we’ve been playing for a long time. I thought I had time to take a step back to savor what is going on. I imagine that day will come only when I retire from coaching. And it’s not for tomorrow morning! “

Since the Canadiens’ elimination in five games against the Lightning, Ducharme followed a wave that refused to go down.

“I had a 10 day break in the summer,” he said. Only ten days when I can say that I took time off. We needed to hire two assistants in Montreal [Trevor Letowski et Éric Raymond], a sports performance director, a physical trainer and coaches for the Laval Rocket. There was also the expansion draft with Seattle, the NHL draft, the free agent period. It never stopped. ”

In his first steps behind the CH bench in a head coaching role, Ducharme led his team to the final, knocking out the Maple Leafs in seven, the Jets in four and the Golden Knights in six.

This season, the Habs will reconnect with the very competitive Atlantic division in addition to mourning their captain, Shea Weber. Despite this heavy loss, the man from Joliette keeps his eyes on the same goal.

“I never started a year without thinking of winning the last game. You play to win. I will say the same thing next year and I will have the same speech in 10 years. I want to win. The day I don’t say that anymore, I won’t coach anymore. ”

Despite Weber’s absence inside the locker room, Ducharme believes his legacy will remain alive.

“This is perhaps the year that we will see Shea’s influence the most in recent years,” he said. Shea’s presence has inspired several players. He guided his teammates to become better leaders. “

For daddy Jacques

In a 45-minute interview, Ducharme left the gaze of his interlocutor only once. It was to talk about his father, Jacques, who passed away suddenly on December 29, 2015. At that time, he was working as an assistant with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Helsinki.

“I would like him to come back just for a day,” he said, his voice tight with emotion. So that he has the chance to see a game, so that he can enjoy that moment. I would have found it special to share that with him. I often think of my father. “

Lucille, her mother, could walk through the doors of the Bell Center this year. But at 75, she often prefers the comfort of her living room to watch a Canadiens game.


Leave a Comment